Skip to content

Somebody, pinch me

Category Archives: Books

It’s about to be summertime, and that means I must begin my reading list. How do I do that? I walk through the aisles of Barnes and Noble and see what pops out at me. Scrolling the virtual aisles of The Book Cover Archive, this is what I’ve come up with so far.

Leeann Falciani

Designer: Leeann Falciani

Text making noise.

Isaac Tobin

Designer: Isaac Tobin

As subtle sigh of relief.

Pete Garceaum, Nelson Mandela

Designer: Pete Garceau

Just beatiful, simple and powerful.

Jason Ramirez

Designer: Jason Ramirez

Funny and lighthearted. I usually don’t like vertical text, but with this, I dig it.

Ben Wiseman

Designer: Ben Wiseman

You got me. Very clever.

Will I read them all? Maybe not. Probably not. There’s still overflow from last summer, but they’re still nice to look at, right?

If you don’t know, I love GQ magazine. Yes I know it’s a men’s magazine. Yes I know I’m not a man nor do I want to be. I’m not a tomboy, I’m straight and I like girly things, I just also like GQ. Here’s why:

  • It’s well-designed.
  • There are good articles.
  • There are great photos
  • There are hot men on the covers.
  • I LOVE the letters from the editor.

Also, most women’s magazines have at least one headline on the cover advertising a crash diet or making yourself look younger or your hair shinier, which I find distracting and depressing. Also, the celebrity articles tend to be written from the angle of paparazzi instead of a  journalist.

Anyway, I want to share some blurbs from one  of my favorite things I’ve read in the magazine. It’s an open letter that snuck in on the last page. It’s called “Dear (Possibly Doomed) Class 2010.”

We’re all on our way to graduation, and people are suggesting to stay in school because the job market sucks. If you want more schooling, fine, but if you’re trying to avoid facing the cutthroat world of classifieds, it seems like you’re just delaying the inevitable and racking up more student debt in the process. That’s where I stand and here’s where GQ stands (It’s quite a bit of text, but trust me, it’s worth it):

“Well, you finally made it. You graduated! You spent four years (or eight, or ten–no judgments!) and eleventy billion dollars of your parents’ money, and now you’re a bunch of learned-ass adults. Or maybe you just spent five minutes on the University of Phoenix Web site, clicked ‘print diploma’ and went downstairs to do a couple of pre-Family Guy bong rips, because hangin’ out on the quad with a bunch of losers doesn’t fit into your life-plan right this second.

………..

“Now for the bad news. You’re joining the workforce in the middle of a jobless recovery, which is basically the O’Doul’s of economic rallies. It’s  no picnic out here. Or, okay, it’s a picnic, but it’s a Cormac McCarthy The Road type of picnic, there’s not enough canned peaches in the shopping cart, and everybody’s calling dibs on the one bullet. And also there are fire ants.

Mighty institutions people once took for granted–banks, newspapers, American Idol–are crumbling, and while most of them deserve to, the problem with a world without mighty institutions is that mighty institutions used to employ a lot of people. You could always get The Man to finance your lifestyle. No more. That unpaid internship you’ve got your eye on? Be prepared to flight somebody for it. Possibly your dad.

………..

“Frankly we’re wondering if you guys are going to be able to handle Malaise 2.0. Most of you were born in 1988, which means you were 3 years old when Nevermind came out (which makes us 826). You’ve never known hardship. ..You’ve also never lives in a world without Intenet, which means you’ve grown up with an exaggerated sense of your own self-importance…you posted ‘response’ videos on YouTube; poured out your every typeable thought on a  glittering, blinking MySpace page.

You had access to all the machinery of self-promotion before you really had a self. You thought of fame as a birthright.  And now you’ve been booted into a world that will LOL at your sense of awesome-life-entitlement, then offer to ‘hire’ you to blog for free.

………..

“We know how we sound, Oh-Tenners. We sounds old. Carson Daly old. Eddie Vedder old. And jealous. We did not, after all, actually graduate from college. We went, and then we went less often, and then we decided we were finished…But once we made that decision, we set about starting a life, secure in the knowledge that–because we’d never actually done anything–no one gave a crap about us or our burning conviction that we were too good to make some dude’s latte.

We advise you to proceed under the same assumption, graduates. Having a thousand Facebook friends means about as much in 2010 as a personalized-license-plate key chain meant in 1990. We live in a moment when anybody can make a name for themselves; the game you’re suiting up for is about making  that name matter.”


There have been many disputes about the entitlement generation with our iPhones and our constant Googling. Well here’s the long and short of it: Every generation will attempt to make information, transportation and communication more instantaneous and accessible. Whether with the invention of the iPhone, the Internet, the mobile phone, the car, even the written word, we’re all trying to move things along, and why shouldn’t we?

Do we feel entitled? To a certain extent, yes. But are we apathetic? Are we lazy? Do we have a superiority complex? I think not. When we feel we are entitled to certain technology, certain information, or (in the art world) certain design that isn’t available, we think, “How can we make it better?” “How can we make the things we want and need?” And that’s the start of progress.

Tags: , , , , , ,

If you don’t know, I love GQ magazine. Yes I know it’s a men’s magazine. Yes I know I’m not a man nor do I want to be. I’m not a tomboy, I’m straight and I like girly things, I just also like GQ. Here’s why:

  • It’s well-designed.
  • There are good articles.
  • There are great photos
  • There are hot men on the covers.
  • I LOVE the letters from the editor.

Also, most women’s magazines have at least one headline on the cover advertising a crash diet or making yourself look younger or your hair shinier, which I find distracting and depressing. Also, the celebrity articles tend to be written from the angle of paparazzi instead of a  journalist.

Anyway, I want to share some blurbs from one  of my favorite things I’ve read in the magazine. It’s an open letter that snuck in on the last page. It’s called “Dear (Possibly Doomed) Class 2010.”

We’re all on our way to graduation, and people are suggesting to stay in school because the job market sucks. If you want more schooling, fine, but if you’re trying to avoid facing the cutthroat world of classifieds, it seems like you’re just delaying the inevitable and racking up more student debt in the process. That’s where I stand and here’s where GQ stands (It’s quite a bit of text, but trust me, it’s worth it):

“Well, you finally made it. You graduated! You spent four years (or eight, or ten–no judgments!) and eleventy billion dollars of your parents’ money, and now you’re a bunch of learned-ass adults. Or maybe you just spent five minutes on the University of Phoenix Web site, clicked ‘print diploma’ and went downstairs to do a couple of pre-Family Guy bong rips, because hangin’ out on the quad with a bunch of losers doesn’t fit into your life-plan right this second.

………..

“Now for the bad news. You’re joining the workforce in the middle of a jobless recovery, which is basically the O’Doul’s of economic rallies. It’s  no picnic out here. Or, okay, it’s a picnic, but it’s a Cormac McCarthy The Road type of picnic, there’s not enough canned peaches in the shopping cart, and everybody’s calling dibs on the one bullet. And also there are fire ants.

Mighty institutions people once took for granted–banks, newspapers, American Idol–are crumbling, and while most of them deserve to, the problem with a world without mighty institutions is that mighty institutions used to employ a lot of people. You could always get The Man to finance your lifestyle. No more. That unpaid internship you’ve got your eye on? Be prepared to flight somebody for it. Possibly your dad.

………..

“Frankly we’re wondering if you guys are going to be able to handle Malaise 2.0. Most of you were born in 1988, which means you were 3 years old when Nevermind came out (which makes us 826). You’ve never known hardship. ..You’ve also never lives in a world without Intenet, which means you’ve grown up with an exaggerated sense of your own self-importance…you posted ‘response’ videos on YouTube; poured out your every typeable thought on a  glittering, blinking MySpace page.

You had access to all the machinery of self-promotion before you really had a self. You thought of fame as a birthright.  And now you’ve been booted into a world that will LOL at your sense of awesome-life-entitlement, then offer to ‘hire’ you to blog for free.

………..

“We know how we sound, Oh-Tenners. We sounds old. Carson Daly old. Eddie Vedder old. And jealous. We did not, after all, actually graduate from college. We went, and then we went less often, and then we decided we were finished…But once we made that decision, we set about starting a life, secure in the knowledge that–because we’d never actually done anything–no one gave a crap about us or our burning conviction that we were too good to make some dude’s latte.

We advise you to proceed under the same assumption, graduates. Having a thousand Facebook friends means about as much in 2010 as a personalized-license-plate key chain meant in 1990. We live in a moment when anybody can make a name for themselves; the game you’re suiting up for is about making  that name matter.”


There have been many disputes about the entitlement generation with our iPhones and our constant Googling. Well here’s the long and short of it: Every generation will attempt to make information, transportation and communication more instantaneous and accessible. Whether with the invention of the iPhone, the Internet, the mobile phone, the car, even the written word, we’re all trying to move things along, and why shouldn’t we?

Do we feel entitled? To a certain extent, yes. But are we apathetic? Are we lazy? Do we have a superiority complex? I think not. When we feel we are entitled to certain technology, certain information, or (in the art world) certain design that isn’t available, we think, “How can we make it better?” “How can we make the things we want and need?” And that’s the start of progress.

Tags: , , , , , ,

I like Barnes and Noble as much as the next book-lover. Starbucks brewing  in the background. Best-sellers in stock. Magazines I’ve never heard of. It’s all very…commercially scholastic. But there’s something to be said for the tiny bookstore with a with a color-coded sticker price system and a sign outside that reads “Bookstore”

On Habersham and 40th, this little place is so cluttered with used books it’s overwhelming at first, but then you start digging through the titles and it’s pretty awesome sometimes what you find. We went in while waiting for Al Salaam (an Arabic restaurant I definitely recommend)  to open one afternoon and I’ve gone back several times since then. I found a book of short stories from a college five minutes away from my house in Texas.

The store is owned by a family with a little girl who definitely shows evidence of having grown up with endless access to a library. My roommate, Jessi Gilbert, is documenting the store for one of her photo classes. There’s everything from history books to trashy romance novels to forgotten yearbooks.

There is no Starbucks or table for best sellers, but there is a $1 rack and Jessi found a first edition of Gulliver’s Travels. You can’t beat that.

Tags: ,

For my Digital Page and Web class, we have to do an eight page magazine layout featuring a celebrity. I needed a little bit more of a theme in place, so I chose Joseph Gordon Levitt, focusing on the business he started a couple years ago: hitRECord.org. It’s now a professional production company for artists.

Whatever you submit to the site (visual, written, audio, anything) is called a record. Whatever you put on the site has to be your own work, and once it’s there, it’s fair game. If you use someone’s work, you give them credit (obviously). Now that RegularJOE (his hitRECord username) has made it official, he chooses records that he thinks are really great and funds their production. Any money made from the project goes 50/50 to the artist(s) and back into hitRECord. It’s called the New Deal.

Here it is in video form:

So many artist now are resampling work of other artists or collaborating, bringing new perspectives to the art world. I think collaboration is becoming a new genre in itself. Art, communication, creativity, it’s all becoming a conversation and Joe is using the resource everyone can access all over the world, and making people’s work something signifigant.

Many stars promote reading, or anti-drug campaigns or animal shelters. They throw a non-profit some money and do the voice over for the commercial. Yes, donating to these causes is fantastic, but what Joe is doing for the art world is giving people an opportunity to show their talent in a way they might not have been able to otherwise and he is seeing it along the whole way. His own updates on the site pretty regularly. He did a lot of promotion at Sundance this year.

Here’s one of my favorite records:

He says it in the video, but I think this is a nice artist statement, “Open communication is at the heart of human progress, and I’m not saying that hitRECord is the key to that kind of communication, but I think it’s a good baby step in the right direction.”

Are you recording?

For my Digital Page and Web class, we have to do an eight page magazine layout featuring a celebrity. I needed a little bit more of a theme in place, so I chose Joseph Gordon Levitt, focusing on the business he started a couple years ago: hitRECord.org. It’s now a professional production company for artists.

Whatever you submit to the site (visual, written, audio, anything) is called a record. Whatever you put on the site has to be your own work, and once it’s there, it’s fair game. If you use someone’s work, you give them credit (obviously). Now that RegularJOE (his hitRECord username) has made it official, he chooses records that he thinks are really great and funds their production. Any money made from the project goes 50/50 to the artist(s) and back into hitRECord. It’s called the New Deal.

Here it is in video form:

So many artist now are resampling work of other artists or collaborating, bringing new perspectives to the art world. I think collaboration is becoming a new genre in itself. Art, communication, creativity, it’s all becoming a conversation and Joe is using the resource everyone can access all over the world, and making people’s work something signifigant.

Many stars promote reading, or anti-drug campaigns or animal shelters. They throw a non-profit some money and do the voice over for the commercial. Yes, donating to these causes is fantastic, but what Joe is doing for the art world is giving people an opportunity to show their talent in a way they might not have been able to otherwise and he is seeing it along the whole way. His own updates on the site pretty regularly. He did a lot of promotion at Sundance this year.

Here’s one of my favorite records:

He says it in the video, but I think this is a nice artist statement, “Open communication is at the heart of human progress, and I’m not saying that hitRECord is the key to that kind of communication, but I think it’s a good baby step in the right direction.”

Are you recording?

Let me list the reasons I hate the Kindle:

They look too sterile.

You can’t flip pages.

You can’t write in them.

They only come in one typeface.

And you can’t see the cover.

Chip Kidd, possibly the most prominent book jacket designers as well as an editor and novelist, agrees.

“As long as it’s 400 bucks and looks like something you would use to test your glucose levels…it will have limited appeal,” but still, his art is at stake with the growing popularity of ebooks.

Book cover designers read the entire book and come up with the first thing you see on the shelf. People even choose the best typeface to set the book in. Who does that on a Kindle? No one. No one does it. Kindles only come in one typeface.

Authors have certain designers that they trust with their books, and seeing that Kidd is only46 and has designed 1500 covers, I’m sure he is on the top of several lists.

Kidd has an interesting analogy.

“It’s sort of like being Gwyneth Paltrow and having your favorite hairdresser…that person helps make you look good and so you’re going to hang on to them. They’re going to mean a lot to you.”

Book cover design isn’t advertising, it’s an introduction. It’s a tone set by the designer.

“I don’t think people buy a book because of the jacket… It’s like name tags at single parties. That will just introduce you to the other person, then the person themselves has to take over. So the book jacket is sort of like, ‘Hi. My name is Bob.’ But then I have to get to know Bob to see if I want to take this further.’”

Everyone who looks at a Kidd’s work wants to get to know the book better.

Kidd recently designed the cover for Nabokov’s notes for a book he was writing when he died, “The Original of Laura.” With the monumental sentiment of the task, they could only approach the work as an artifact.

The art of book covers, just like the art of album covers, might dwindle, but as of yet, ebooks have not taken off like mp3s, and hopefully they won’t.

“I get worried that people wont be given a choice because of paper costs, you will get this book as an ebook or you won’t get it at all,” Kidd said.

Even Vignelli (in my last post) says books are dead–and he used to design them. (Although they weren’t anything to write home about.) I haven’t seen a mass number of people walking around with Kindles under their arm. If books are headed to extinction, I’ll believe it when I see it.

The cover of Newsweek a couple years ago said, “Books aren’t dead; they’re just going digital.” But then, won’t the art of the book be gone? Kidd said, “Yeah, just by definition because it won’t be an object anymore. It won’t be a thing…as an object it will be gone if it only exists online.”

Here is Chip Kidd’s work, and here’s the interview I got all the quotes from:

Tags: , , , ,